Okay, I’m admittedly killing two birds with one stone here. Next week Richard and I have scheduled a virtual conference with Fundraising Success magazine on the topic of “The Culture of Philanthropy” and since I have to prepare for that I might as bring you along with me.
So, over the next six posts I’m going to be reviewing this “culture of philanthropy” topic and why it’s so important for your organization. This is not going to be for the faint of heart. And there will be something for everyone here, not just those in leadership, but even you first year development professionals who are trying to figure out what this fundraising stuff is all about.
To begin, I want you to visualize with me what a non-profit would look, taste and feel like if they truly embraced a healthy culture of philanthropy.
So, here goes.
- The mission of the organization includes donors. Donors are not considered a means to an end, but just as vital as the work you carry out meeting the world’s greatest needs.
- The leadership of the organization and the entire staff embrace the idea that fundraising is essential in fully carrying out the work and that it brings joy to donors to give. All members of the organization gladly and without reservation can ask donors and prospective donors to give.
- Board members are your biggest cheerleaders and unceasingly ask their “sphere of influence” to join them in the cause that is so dear to their hearts.
- It’s hard to tell who is working in “program” and who is in “development.” Staff in both areas have a mutual respect for each others’ work and willingly and enthusiastically help understand each others’ needs.
- Donors of the organization trust it. They feel cared for, loved, challenged, thanked, educated and part of the solution. They don’t feel talked down to, but rather are constantly reminded of how important their involvement is to addressing the need.
- Everyone in the organization knows “the story.” The story is about why the organization exists, both the pain and the joy. “The story” is engrained in the hearts and minds of all who are connected to the organization. This “story” is told over and over, again and again…and it makes them beam with pride and choke with tears.
- When anyone walks through the doors of the organization what is felt is love, empathy, righteous anger, grace, hard work, personal care, and…more love.
I want to be a part of an organization like this, don’t you? What a breath of fresh air to start the day working here. I know what you’re thinking. This is just a dream, and it could never be like this in my organization.
I think you’re wrong. If this is what you want, (and who wouldn’t?) then you can create it. Stay with me on this. It’s going to be fun writing about this and getting your feedback. If you and your organization can get this right, staff will be happier, donors will be connected and your programs will be easier to fund.
And remember, you can join Richard and me at the Fundraising Success Virtual Conference on Thursday, October 11th. It’s FREE!! We’d love to see you there.